The COVID-19 pandemic has strained the ability of skilled nursing facilities to fill beds. Skilled Nursing News reports some operators are now finding new ways to overcome this obstacle. One method operators are utilizing is specializing in certain medical fields. This is allowing them to bring in patients who are higher acuity.
Operators are renovating facilities to better accommodate patients with specialized needs. For this reason, The Allure Group recently renovated one of its center in New York so it is better equipped to care for patients needing neurological rehabilitation. One added utility included an aquatherapy pool for patients diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. Matthew Fenely, chief business development officer for The Allure Group, stated there has been a “significant increase in census” in the renovated center. The newly installed pool is also allowing them to “capitalize on therapeutic gains even earlier in the recovery process for a wider range of clinically complex patients due to body weight suspension.”
Aquatherapy pools have proven to be beneficial to patients with a range of conditions. Older adults have seen improvements in lower-body strength and center of gravity with aquatic physical therapy, resistance jets and underwater treadmills. A study conducted by Utah State University concluded six weeks of aquatic treadmill exercise improved joint pain, balance, function and mobility in patients with osteoarthritis.
Other operators are focusing on different areas of medicine and equipping themselves to cater to patients with other specialized needs. One center under The Allure Group has become the ventilator facility to care for patients with respiratory needs. Another center has initiated a cardiac rehab program to take in cardiology patients, while another center is focusing their efforts on dementia patients.
Higher acuity patients require proper medical supervision. To fill this need, operators would need to expand clinical coverage including doctors and nurses. Additionally, “physician-led relationships with hospitals” would help funnel referrals necessary for specialty programs. Similarly, SNFs with specialty programs interest hospitals for new partnerships.